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Ho Chi Minh City manages to balance its captivating history with a high-octane culture of busy attractions and modern design. This southern Vietnam city is steeped in stories from the war, which are told on the faces of its buildings. These intriguing snapshots of a city at conflict are framed by both beautiful French colonial architecture and contemporary skyscrapers and malls.

Today this city boasts a high energy atmosphere that engulfs travellers from across the globe and invites them to indulge in a blend of the old and the new. In this travel guide, we’ll be exploring everything from its attractions to its accommodation to help you get the most out of your visit.

Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City

Shopping in Ho Chi Minh City

Food in Ho Chi Minh City

Nightlife in Ho Chi Minh City

Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City

Getting Around Ho Chi Minh City

Best Time to Visit Ho Chi Minh City

Flights to Ho Chi Minh City

Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City

From the energetic street markets to traditional temples and fascinating landmarks, this vibrant city has something to mesmerise everyone, no matter what their tastes or budget may be.

 

independence palace fountains

Independence Palace

Also known as the Reunification Palace, this epic building covering a whopping 12 hectares has one of the most storied histories in all of Vietnam. In 1975, communist forces arrived here and since then, the Independence Palace has become a symbol of the fall of Saigon. Famously, this is the location where a Vietnamese tank crashed its way through the iron gates. Its history is preserved beautifully. It’s very much a stopped clock for the era, with over 100 rooms spread out over three floors for visitors to see. These include equipment and artefacts from the war. Perhaps most interesting of all is the basement, which was home to its telecommunications centre, war room and a series of tunnels filled with radio transmitters. Be sure to get yourself a good guide if you want to appreciate this historically monumental location to its fullest.

Address: 135 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Price: Adult – VND30,000, Children – VND5,000

three tanks lined up outside museum

War Remnants Museum

Another place of great historical importance is the War Remnants Museum, which takes visitors through a fascinating look at Vietnam’s remarkable and often tragic history. Do be aware that these tours are not for the faint of heart: this is a museum that does not pull any punches when it comes to the unpleasant side of history. War is not a pretty subject and the War Remnants Museum makes no efforts to soften the impact of the past. It goes into great detail, not of just the battles fought, but also the effects the war had on the lives of the citizens, as well as a history of the weapons used and of anti-war protests, particularly with regards to their war with America through the ‘50s up to the mid ‘70s. The tour guides here are impeccable with regards to their knowledge of the subject at hand. There’s no doubt that you’ll leave this museum better educated both on Vietnamese history and on the nature of war itself.

Address: 28 Võ Văn Tần, 6, 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Price: Entry – VND15,000

red stone basilica in ho chi minh city

Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica

This stunning old bell tower cathedral is located downtown in Ho Chi Minh City and is a place of both religious worship and historical importance. The church originated from the French colonisation of Saigon in the latter half of the 19th century, where the Roman Catholics established a church for the use of French colonialists. Most recently, the church hit the headlines for reports of the Virgin Mary shedding a tear down the right side of her face. This has never been confirmed but it didn’t stop crowds from flocking to the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica long after the alleged incident. It’s a beautiful building and due to its history, looks very distinct from much of the city. It’s well worth a visit for anyone interested in the history and architecture of the region.

Address: 1, Công xã Paris, Bến Nghé, Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Price: Free

cu chi tunnel entrance

Củ Chi Tunnels

A testament to the incredible spirit of the Vietnamese people, the Củ Chi Tunnels were an ingenious plan to keep the soldiers safe from air raids by making passing through, or rather underneath the city undetectable. This allowed their forces to remain co-ordinated and included living areas, weapons and storage factories, kitchens, hospitals and commands centres. In many ways, this was the nerve centre of the country at war in the 1960s. Crawling through these tunnels might be the best way for a person to gain an understanding of what life was really like during that troubled period. As always, the tour guides here are terrific and know their subject like the back of their hand. The tunnels are also well marked, so there’s no fear of getting lost. Be aware though that the tunnels are very cramped, so if you suffer from claustrophobia, you may want to stay on the surface. There are also shooting ranges nearby to give you a feeling of the sights and sounds of battle.

Address: Ho Chi Minh City 700000, Vietnam
Price: Entry – VND90,000

Image source: Lim Ashley

colourful buddha statue

Giác Lâm Pagoda

This famous seven storied Buddhist temple was not completed until 1993, owing to a rather extensive delay following the fall of Saigon in 1975. It actually has its roots in the late 18th century, having been built as a place of holy worship by a local named Ly Phuc Khoat. Giác Lâm Pagoda is a beautiful, serene and peaceful experience regardless of your beliefs, with the main sanctuary decorated with stunning figures and Buddhist monuments. In fact, there’s over 150 wooden Buddha statues alone. There’s also a lovely garden, which is a perfect place to soak up the ambience. Keep in mind, this is an active temple so there may be services going on depending on when you visit.

Address: 565 Lạc Long Quân, phường 10, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

Price: Free

view of bitexco tower from below

Bitexco Financial Tower

The tallest building in Vietnam was recently finished in 2010, reaching an incredible 162.5 metres in the air. It comprises of 68 storeys, three basements and was designed by Carlos Zapata who, despite living in New York his whole life, wanted to leave his mark on the east. He succeeds in spectacular fashion with this breath-taking skyscraper in the clouds. The Bitexco Financial Tower offers something for everyone, including several excellent restaurants, a large cinema, a food court, café, sky bar and observation deck. In fact, there’s so much here, you can make a whole day of it. The real reason many are here is for the views, which are absolutely awe-inspiring and a must see during your time in the city.

Address: 36 Ho Tung Mau Street, Ben Nghe ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 70000, Vietnam

Price: Free

Image source: Tri Nguyen

white tiger in zoo

Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden

If you’re a nature lover, there’s few places better than the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden, which has graced Vietnam with its presence ever since 1986. This makes it one of the oldest zoos in the world, ranking eighth overall. Speaking of history, the zoo also contains the Museum of Vietnamese History, which is a fascinating attraction well worth the ticket price all by itself. Luckily, the zoo itself doesn’t see many signs of ageing with world class facilities holding nearly 600 rare and exotic creatures, including white Bengal tigers, African lions, elephants and much, much more. They also have a memorial for the soldiers who lost their lives in WWI, educational facilities and 260 species of plants.

Address: 5 Q.1, Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, Bến Nghé, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Price: Entry – VND10,000

large face sculpture in ho chi minh city

Suoi Tien

This amusement park looks and feels like no other, with visitors being greeted by giant sculpted dragons as they enter. This is more than just rides: this a distinctly unique look at Vietnamese cultures, including its myths and legends. Suoi Tien park is as colourful as Disneyland but with a distinctly unique eastern flavour. Perhaps most iconic of all is the man-made Tien Dong beach, which includes an enormous waterfall with an emperor’s face carved into it. This park is enormous and attractions feature shows, rides and go karts. The rides here are generally more suitable for younger visitors but there’s so much going on, there’s plenty for all ages to do. Suoi Tien may not be able to compete with some other international parks in terms of rollercoasters, but it more than makes up for that with its distinctly Vietnamese charm.

Address: 120 Asian Highway 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Tân Phú, Vietnam
Price: Adult – VND50,000, Children – VND25,000 + additional costs from VND5,000 – VND60,000 depending on games

Image source: pelican

dam sen park ho chi minh city

Dam Sen Park

There’s no better way to spend a day in the scorching Vietnamese sun than at Dam Sen Park: a water park measuring an incredible 50 hectares. Much of this is natural scenery, with lots of greenery and lakes to keep your eyes occupied. This is something that really sets this park apart from its competitors with a feeling of authenticity as well as fun. This isn’t a park that could have been made anywhere. This has a very distinct cultural identity and it’s all the stronger for it. There are lots of pools and slides to enjoy but please be aware that the minimum height for these attractions is 1.2 metres, with most being 1.4 metres (around four feet) so if you have very small children, these slides will not be suitable for them. Overall, this is great fun at a very reasonable price.

Address: 3 Hòa Bình, phường 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Price: Visitors over 1.4 metres – VND110,000 (before 4pm), VND90,000 (after 4pm), Visitors between 0.8 meters – 1.4 meters – VND70,000 (before 4pm), VND60,000 (after 4pm), Visitors under 0.8 meters – Free

Image source: pelican

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Shopping in Ho Chi Minh City

“Ho Chi Minh City is not just about memorials and museums from the war, but also about finding great deals at local markets such as Ben Tranh or Cho Lon. But don’t forget to bring your bargaining skills, as every price is negotiable. Cooking classes and boat excursions into the Mekong Delta are also on the must-do list.”

By Bryan, Budget Your Trip

Whether you’re browsing for the finest local crafts or renowned international brand names, this charming city can cater to any budget.

 

people shopping in ben thanh market

Bến Thành Market

This bustling marketplace is a great place to find a bargain, with cheap prices on everything from clothes to food. Speaking of food, this is home to some of the best Vietnamese street food the city has to offer. This is a very old style of market, featuring lots of stores that produce homemade handicraft items you can’t find anywhere else. If you’re looking for something traditional and distinct from other shopping destinations, Bến Thành Market has what you need and more. This is not a fixed price market so don’t be shy about negotiating a bargain: it’s more expected here than it is at other, more upmarket shopping locations. So get haggling and experience some truly authentic Vietnamese shopping and culinary experiences.

Address: 32-30, 36-34-32-30 Phan Bội Châu, Bến Thành, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Price: Free to browse

"Planning ahead for a trip to Ho Chi Minh city is important as this South East Asian behemoth can be overwhelming for new visitors. Whether you want to zip through the city on a scooter tour to explore the hidden spots frequented by locals, check out historical sites such as the Cu Chi tunnels, get lost at the massive Ben Thanh market or just grab an authentic bowl of pho, Ho Chi Minh has it all."

By Singapore Travel Blogger Zhiqiang

 

outside of ralph lauren

Saigon Square

One of the largest shopping markets in the city, Saigon Square is home to all kinds of retailers, with a vast collection of small independent stores selling all kinds of unique wares. This is perfect if you’re looking for a souvenir, including clothes, jewellery and more. In fact, the sheer amount of variety on offer here can be a little overwhelming, especially when you consider the bargains available. Plus, it’s air-conditioned, which as anyone who has been to Vietnam on a hot day will tell you, is very important indeed.

Address: 7 Tôn Đức Thắng, Bến Nghé, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 9am – 9pm

exterior of diamon plaza

Diamond Plaza

This expansive, luxurious shopping centre includes a whopping two buildings of shopping delights: one reaching 15 storeys and the other towering at 22. As its name might suggest, this is a little higher end than your average Vietnamese market, featuring the very top luxury brand names from across the world. You should therefore expect to pay a little more here. However, the quality available speaks for itself. It also includes an incredible six cinema lounges and even a hospital. This is one mall that goes above and beyond all expectations.

Address: 34 Lê Duẩn, Bến Nghé, Hồ Chí Minh, 700000, Vietnam

Opening hours: Mon- Sun, 9:30 am – 10 pm

Image source: Paul Arps

piles o fcolourful clothes

Vincom Center B Shopping Mall

Both luxury and local, Vincom Center B Shopping Mall offers the best of both worlds. Here you can find the biggest mainstream and high-end brands as well as local bargains all in one convenient, modern location. They are also famous for their excellent food options, with a large food court and several restaurants also ranging from luxury to budget prices. There’s even a movie theatre and an amusement arcade to keep you entertained all day long.

Address: 72 Lê Thánh Tôn, Bến Nghé, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

Opening hours: Mon- Sun, 9:30 am – 10 pm

Nowzone Fashion Mall

This fashion focused mall offers everything from branded products to unique locally made items. For anyone who loves fashion, this is the place to be. It is smaller than many of the other malls in the city but that makes it ideal for anyone just looking to pick up some clothes and not spend the day walking through a giant complex. The food hall here is also excellent and is particularly loved by locals for its selection of Korean ice creams.

Address: 235 Nguyễn Văn Cừ, Nguyễn Cư Trinh, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

Opening hours: Mon – Sun, 9:30 am – 10 pm

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Food in Ho Chi Minh City

Tickle your taste buds and sample some of the finest dishes from across Vietnam and beyond in Ho Chi Minh City’s selection of restaurants and eateries.

"Ho Chi Minh City has changed a lot since the first time I visited a decade ago. It's become such a hip place, full of trendy new establishments to eat and drink. I would recommend places like Workshop and L’Usine for coffee, Secret Garden for dinner, and Cong Cafe for drinks."

By Michael Turtle, Time Travel Turtle

plate of noodles with chicken and cucumber

Noir

This is a restaurant with a twist, and we don’t just mean some fun decorations on the walls. In fact, you won’t be able to see the decorations. You won’t be able to see anything at all, for that matter. Noir is “dining in the dark”, where you are left completely blind, meaning you’ll finally get to find out whether losing one of your senses really makes your others stronger. We’re not so sure about that, because it could just be that the food here is incredible, featuring three menus including western, Asian and vegetarian cuisine. This is a unique journey for the senses.

Address: 180D, Hẻm 178 Hai Bà Trưng, Dakao, District 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

Hum Vegetarian

There’s no prizes for guessing the theme of Hum Vegetarian, which offers some of the best food in the city for those who prefer not to eat meat. The food here is deliciously authentic, with great veggie twists on traditional Vietnamese dishes. It’s so tasty, you don’t need to be a vegetarian to love it here, with great food and a serene, laid back ambience. The only thing more colourful than the bountiful greens on your plate is the colourful décor, which is as relaxing as it is charming.

Address: 2 Thi Sach St.,|Ben Nghe W., D. 1,,Ho Chi Minh City 70000,Vietnam

Shri Restaurant & Lounge

This rooftop restaurant offers some of the most amazing views of the city. It is a true feast for the eyes, particularly at night when the lights of the city burn in all their glory. Its food and cocktails selection is just as good, with many considering this the best place in the whole city for top shelf beverages. The restaurant largely focuses on western food with some eastern options, all of which are excellent. The service is also world class and the prices are very reasonable for this five-star drink and dining experience.

Address: 72 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, 6, 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

Image source: Alpha

Shri Restaurant & Lounge

This rooftop restaurant offers some of the most amazing views of the city. It is a true feast for the eyes, particularly at night when the lights of the city burn in all their glory. Its food and cocktails selection is just as good, with many considering this the best place in the whole city for top shelf beverages. The restaurant largely focuses on western food with some eastern options, all of which are excellent. The service is also world class and the prices are very reasonable for this five-star drink and dining experience.

Address: 72 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, 6, 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

“Ho Chi Minh is all about food for me. From District 5 where you can find great northern Vietnamese and Chinese food to Binh Thanh where you can sample all kinds of incredible local street food without being surrounded by a mass of tourists, it's easy to get off the beaten path when it comes to dining. Yummy banh mi, bun rieu and bun thit nuong are just a few of the typically fresh and inexpensive meals worth trying!”

Derek Baron, Wandering Earl

 

three tacos with coleslaw and lime

La Fiesta

Perhaps the best Mexican food in the city, La Fiesta takes everything great about Mexican restaurants, including excellent cocktails served by knowledgeable staff, and throws in an amazing selection of craft beers. You might not have considered putting top shelf beers with Mexican food before but you won’t forget it after giving it a try. The flavours here are an incredible love letter to Latin cookery, focusing on deep, balanced flavours rather than trying to burn your mouth out. It’s a gem of a restaurant.

Address: 33 Dang Thi Nhu, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 70000, Vietnam

Dong Pho

Dong Pho specialises in “royal cuisine”, which while completely traditional and authentic, is utterly distinct from the majority of what you’ll find in Ho Chi Minh. This is fine dining at its absolute best: beautifully prepared, delicately decorated feasts for the eyes and taste buds, offering its customer a completely new experience. This is not just great food: this is great food like nothing else you’ve ever tasted. Happily, for the picky eaters out there, there’s enough choice to keep everyone happy. The atmosphere here is as well constructed as the dishes, with a relaxing, comfortable and romantic ambience perfectly complimenting the divine dining.

Address: 57 Ho Xuan Huong | District 3, Ho Chi Minh City 70000, Vietnam

Image source: Ray Bouknight

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Nightlife in Ho Chi Minh City

Experience the incredible buzzing atmosphere of the city as you while away your evening in one of Ho Chi Minh’s electric clubs or sophisticated bars.

"The night life in Saigon is always buzzing. Start your evening with the enthralling AO show of stunts and energy, before getting some of the cheapest booze supply along Dong Khoi with some of the locals or fellow backpackers. Finally, party it up at Apocalypse Now with some mind-blowingly sick beats...! The night is still young.”

By Amie, Amie Hu

 

view from club in ho chi minh city

Saigon Saigon Bar

So nice they had to name it twice! This swanky rooftop bar actually sits in a spot that used to be a central part of their war-torn history. It was once a radio tower used for daily war correspondents, due to its location and size making it the perfect spot to observe the fighting across the Saigon river. This would no longer be possible due to the construction of a larger hotel. Nonetheless, the view is still incredible, especially at night when the lights of the bustling city make Ho Chi Minh come alive.

Address: 19-23 Lam Son Square, District 1 | Rooftop via 9th Floor, Caravelle Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City 70000, Vietnam

Lush Nightclub

Pumping out tunes until 2am in the morning, Lush Nightclub is one of the coolest hang out spots in Ho Chi Minh City. It’s filled with stylish twenty-somethings who’ve come down to dance the night away. Drinks are excellent, especially for the prices, which are very reasonable for a club of this calibre. This place is known for always being busy and its modern décor and great mix of local and international clientele make this one of the most popular and best nights out around.

Address: 2 Ly Tu Trong, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

6 tester pints in a row

Pasteur Street Brewing Company

For those who treat their beer seriously but still want to have a good time, Pasteur Street Brewing Company offers the very best beers Vietnam has to offer. This is beer lover’s paradise with everything from well-known brands to local breweries, including of course, their own creations. If you want to really find out what this pub has to offer, there are tasting sessions featuring the most delectable of ales. There’s lots of weird and wonderful concoctions here, you’ll be amazed at just how varied a selection of flavours is on offer.

Address: 144 Pasteur, Hồ Chí Minh, Bến Nghé Quận 1 Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

Ice Blue Pub

If you’re looking for a more relaxed environment to counterbalance the cities incredible clubbing scene, Ice Blue Pub might just be the place for you. It offers great drinks ranging from high end cocktails and craft beers with everything in-between. First time customers get their first drink free and the food here is excellent, classic pub grub. The staff here are great: loved by tourists and locals alike. There’s also darts and a pool table, so you can get that authentic pub experience. It’s a little more modern looking than most traditional pubs, but no less welcoming or comfortable.

Address: 54 Dong Khoi Str | 24 Hai Ba Trung Str, Dist 1,Ho Chi Minh City 70000, Vietnam

Image source: Quinn Dombrowski

colourful blurry club lights

Glow Skybar

Address: 93 Nguyen du | District 1, Rooftop of President Place, Ho Chi Minh City 70000, Vietnam

This elegant rooftop bar offers perhaps the best views of Ho Chi Minh outside of Bitexco Financial Tower and the lights inside are just as bright as those on the city skyline. The weekends here are legendary, pumping out house music to packed crowds until the early hours of the morning. The drinks here are a little more expensive than most but more than worth it for the ambience. However, if you want to enjoy the sights without breaking the bank, there’s also a happy hour available in the afternoons.

Image source: Marius Dollinger

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grand lobby of nikko saigon hotel

Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City

Luxury Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City

Set in the heart of Ho Chi Minh’s business district, Hotel Nikko Saigon is everything you’d expect from a five-star hotel and more. Sitting elegantly upon the city’s stunning skyline, this is a hotel that doesn’t go in for gimmicks. Instead, it focuses on world class service and it more than delivers. The staff here are fantastic: attentive, professional and friendly. The room décor is a striking balance between modern and classical styles. They manage to find a sweet spot between the two that brings out the best of both worlds. The food here is absolutely divine, from its incredible breakfast buffet to traditional Chinese dining at the onsite Ming Court restaurant. The hotel also includes a large outdoor pool and a fitness centre, as well as a full service spa including a sauna. It’s a true luxury experience.

Not a hotel which is known for its modesty, The Reverie Saigon wears its luxury on its sleeve. With décor made of gold and marble, this is somewhere that has spared no expense. That doesn’t mean though that the hotel lacks refinement: far from it. Its style is carefully calculated to be flashy but tasteful. It sparkles, not just from the jewels but from the attention to detail as well. The Reverie makes it its business to cater to its customers every need. Everything about it is world class, from its service to its food. Even its pool showcases its signature style with the mosaic flooring reminding you that you’re not swimming in any ordinary place. It’s one of the best hotels in Vietnam.

large hotel suite room

Rex Hotel knows how to stand out from a crowd. Sitting at the heart of downtown Ho Chi Minh City, its exterior pops out of the skyline like a multi-million dollar piece of jewellery someone hammered into a hotel. Nonetheless, it manages to maintain its impressive style without ever being overbearing. While still modern, this hotel retains a classic approach to design, which is thrown together with contemporary Vietnamese décor with spectacular results. The rooms are equally stylish, with wooden floors and warm, expensive décor. They also have some of the biggest beds you’ll ever see and they’re as comfortable as they are large. The attention to detail can also be found in the outdoor areas of the hotel, which is overrun with rich greenery: something you’ll be hard pressed to match in any hotel in the city regardless of price. The rooftop garden also includes traditional Chinese and French cuisine, the latter of which can be a struggle to find elsewhere. Also included is a pool, gym, casino, sports and exercise facilities.

There’s few places as tranquil or as serene as Caravelle Saigon’s majestic outdoor pool area, which lights up neon blue as darkness descends upon this great city. It’s an oasis away from the frantic pace of the thrilling Ho Chi Ming’s city centre. The breakfast here is outstanding, with an incredible selection from across the world. It’s hard to imagine anyone being disappointed with what’s on offer here, no matter their preference. Speaking of food, there’s also a selection of world class restaurants to choose from and even traditional cooking lessons if you’re so inclined. It’s a beautiful hotel, featuring a unique mix of Vietnamese and European architecture, although nothing quite matches the beauty of Saigon River, of which their rooms offer incredible views. To top it off, quite literally, the rooftop is home to one of the trendiest bars in all of Ho Chi Minh, complete with live music played close to the clouds.

hotel lobby with two purple sofas

Mid-Range Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City

Taking its name from the eleventh sign of the zodiac and taking its inspiration from the stunning river views that draw so many here, Aquari Hotel excels in almost everything it does. It is certainly a contender for the top hotel in its price range. The location is fantastic, next to Saigon Square and the Opera House, so you’re right in the heart of the city, mere footsteps away from all the great attraction Ho Chi Minh is famous for. Even though Saigon Square is renowned for its excellent local delicacies, you don’t need to go anywhere for a great meal. The breakfast here is outstanding, with an incredible variety of choices to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Despite being in the midst of a bustling city, the hotel itself is actually in a quieter side street, meaning you can enjoy your sleep uninterrupted from the restless city crowds. The rooms here are also excellent, large and well decorated, including some of the most comfortable beds you’ll ever have the joy of drifting off on.

The Sunland Hotel is as bright and joyful as its name suggests, with great staff, scrumptious breakfast and rooms fit for a king. The décor of the hotel is bright and personable. It’s also located next to the river and within walking distance of most of the city’s main attractions. The price on offer here, costing up to the SG$100 mark a night, is great value for the quality and size of the rooms, not to mention the effort the staff go to in order to make you feel welcome. The breakfast available is very good, featuring a great variety of eastern and western food options. The rooftop pool is the icing on the cake and is the ideal way to spend a sun-kissed afternoon soaking in tranquillity. The serene atmosphere here feels a million miles away from the business of the city streets below.

If you imagine what a traditional hotel looks like, there’s a very good chance the image in your head is close to the Silverland Sil Hotel & Spa. Its classic style may be a world apart from some of the more modern hotels available, but there’s a good reason some things stay the same and that’s because they never needed changing. There’s a classic beauty to this hotel that’s utterly timeless. The spa is not included in the price of your stay, but it’s great value for money (discounts are offered to those who stay at the hotel) and having a world class spa on your doorstep is nothing to be sniffed at. There’s few things more relaxing than retiring from a hard day’s pampering to your large, comfortable bed surrounded by elegance. The staff are very professional and the breakfast here goes beyond expectations.

white hotel room with roses

Budget Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City

Kim Khoi Hotel is a cheap and cheerful option for travellers on a budget, offering clean, sizeable rooms for the price. It also has a great location, situated a mere 15 minutes away from the Benh Tham Market and a stone’s throw away from the excitement of Bui Vien street. You’re in the thick of Vietnamese culture here, surrounded by local shops, bars and restaurants, so you’ll never be lost for things to do, see, eat or drink. The beds are comfortable and the staff are friendly and helpful. The level of service on offer here for a budget hotel is simply astonishing. The breakfast is also decent, with a good selection of options. It is however, in a very busy part of the city so if you’re looking for peace and tranquillity, it may not be the ideal place for you.

As its name suggest, Airport Lucky Star Hotel is located as close to the airport as you can get without being on a plane. So if you’re someone who hates having extra time tacked onto your journey travelling from the airport to your hotel, you’re in luck. The second you land, you’re almost already there. The location is also next to a large market with plenty of eating options, so you’ll have no trouble getting stuck into that famed local cuisine. The quality for the price here is excellent, with big spacious rooms, comfortable beds and a well sized shower and bathtub costing around SG$30 a night. This is also a very elegant looking hotel, which is just one of the many reasons it’s hard to believe the great rates on offer.

Quy Thanh Hotel is a small, colourful hotel, perfect for a peaceful night’s sleep after a day among the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh. The staff are very friendly and attentive, with clean and decent sized rooms all at a low price. Location wise, the hotel is in a great spot to enjoy everything the city has to offer. The rooms also include a television, a fridge, bath and Wi-Fi. This is a great place for the budget traveller, with everything you could possibly desire from a low cost hotel. Keep in mind, there’s only ten rooms available, so make sure you get in before they’re all booked up!

Explore the Expedia website further to find the ideal hotel in Ho Chi Minh City for you. You will be able to choose by the date of your journey, your ideal star rating, budget and more.

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red and white motor taxis on road

Getting Around in Ho Chi Minh City


One of the most popular methods of getting through the congested roads and bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh is on the back of a xe om, or motorbike taxi. These speedy little vehicles allow you to dart around traffic and get to your destination with ease and convenience. They can also be easily found in almost any location, with drivers vying for their customers’ attention.

However, with such competition between xe om operators, it is not uncommon for drivers to try and rip you off, especially in busy tourist areas. This can end up costing you a small fortune, so always be aware of the distance of your journey and negotiate the price before you set off. Remember that for shorter rides, the usual accepted rate is around SG$2, with average hourly and daily rates coming in at around SG$7 and SG$28 respectively.

Image source: amrufm

"Vespa Adventures lets you explore Ho Chi Minh City on the back of a cute Vespa scooter. You don't even have to be the one driving if you'd rather not challenge Vietnam's infamously crowded streets. Let your driver take you to secret local eating and chill-out spots, and enjoy watching other tourists try to cross the road as you zip by."

By Jaclynn, Vespa Adventures

 

two men sitting on cyclos

If you don’t want to risk being overcharged for a luxury-free ride on the back of a bike, you can always choose to travel by metered taxi instead. Although there was once an issue with un-reputable taxi drivers in the city, this has significantly improved in recent years and fully licensed and reliable companies, such as Mai Linh Taxi and Vinasun Taxi make fantastic, hassle-free choices. Although journeys through traffic will take longer, especially during rush hour, these taxis offer you security and cooling air-conditioning to escape from the hot Vietnamese temperatures. You are unlikely to be paying much more for these additional comforts either compared to the hiked up prices of some xe oms.

If you want to truly experience a dying icon of Vietnamese culture, you can opt for a cyclo. These are sadly being phased out by the municipal government and are vanishing from Ho Chi Minh’s streets fast, so take the opportunity to experience them while you still can. Although they are not the cheapest or most convenient method of travel, with cyclos being restricted on many of the city’s streets, they do offer a number of unique benefits.

Many of the drivers in this struggling trade can converse in English and most will be more than happy to give you detailed tours of the city, with stories of the unique sites woven in as you pedal past. This will give you a much richer understanding of your surroundings than any xe om or taxi ride could.

Please be aware though that, due to the restrictions and fines imposed on cyclo drivers in some areas, you may not be able to be dropped off at your exact location. Overcharging tourists is also common, so be sure to agree a price beforehand. If you are planning on longer sightseeing journeys, it is worth negotiating a price per hour, with costs usually coming in at around SG$5.

Image source: manhai

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ho chi minh city view at night

Best Time to Visit Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City experiences a tropical climate, with the year being split into a distinctive dry season and wet season. Obviously to experience the city in all its glory, it is advised that you plan your visit during the dry season, which falls between December and April.

The weather during this period can become very hot and humid, with the average daily temperature reaching around 28°C. If you prefer breezier days and cooler nights, we recommend booking your holiday between November and December, when the weather will be clearer and more comfortable.

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sun shining down over plane

Flights to Ho Chi Minh City

Hopefully you’re now feeling inspired to jet off and experience the wonderful sights, smells and sounds of Ho Chi Minh City for yourself. Before you do though, you will need to book your flights. There are a number of airlines flying to the city, including Thai Airways, Jetstar, SilkAir and more. Direct flights usually take 2-3 hours and fares vary depending on when you choose to visit. Browse the Expedia site now to find the best prices for flights for your trip to Ho Chi Minh City.

Image source: Thomas Rousing

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